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Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Recipe (Savory-Sweet Dish)

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A Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Recipe combines the zesty crunch of pickled vegetables, the robust flavors of seasoned tofu, and the fresh touch of cilantro, all nestled within a crispy baguette. This plant-based twist on a classic Vietnamese sandwich offers a compelling blend of textures and tastes, making it a delightful option for anyone seeking a flavorful, meat-free meal.

Why Does It Work?

  • Seasoned tofu serves as a hearty, protein-rich base, mimicking the texture of traditional meats.
  • Pickled vegetables add a bright, acidic contrast, enhancing the flavor profile.
  • Fresh cilantro introduces a burst of herbal freshness, balancing the savory elements.
  • A crusty baguette provides the perfect chewy texture, holding all ingredients together.
  • This vegan version maintains the sandwich’s integrity, offering a satisfying, cruelty-free alternative.

Finding the perfect vegan lunch option can often feel daunting, especially when you crave something nourishing and bursting with flavor. This challenge led me to discover the ultimate vegan banh mi recipe

Tired of the endless search for a meal that could satisfy my taste buds without compromising my dietary preferences, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. 

The result? A homemade vegan Banh Mi meets the mark in taste and texture and offers a delightful culinary experience.

This creation allows you to enjoy a traditional Vietnamese sandwich’s rich, complex flavors while adhering to a plant-based diet.

Join me as I share how you can recreate this fulfilling, flavorful delight in your kitchen, turning lunchtime into an eagerly anticipated part of your day.

Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Recipe

What Is Vegan Banh Mi? 

Vegan Banh Mi is a plant-based version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich traditionally filled with various types of meat. This cruelty-free adaptation utilizes tofu or tempeh as a protein substitute, marinated and cooked with rich, savory flavors. 

Accompanied by a vibrant array of pickled carrots, daikon radish, fresh cucumber, cilantro, and spicy jalapeños, all nestled within a crusty baguette, it offers a symphony of textures and tastes.

The sandwich is often finished with a spread of vegan mayo or a flavorful sauce, making it a beloved choice for those seeking a delicious, meatless alternative.

Fact -The Banh Mi sandwich originally hails from Vietnam. It is a fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine, showcasing a unique blend of East meets West in every bite.

Vegan Banh Mi

Recipe Directions 

  • Make The Pickles Ahead In a medium jar, combine the daikon, carrots, cucumbers, and jalapeños. Pour in the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Adjust with more water and vinegar as needed to ensure the veggies are fully submerged. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a week.
  • Prepare The Tofu Drain and slice the tofu into ½-inch thick pieces. Lay them on a towel and pat dry to remove extra moisture.
  • Marinate Tofu Whisk olive oil, tamari, lime juice zest, garlic, ginger, and pepper in a small bowl. Place tofu in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it, ensuring each piece is well coated. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  • Cook The Tofu Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add some oil and arrange tofu slices in the pan, avoiding overcrowding. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and caramelized. Season as desired.
  • Assemble The Sandwiches Spread spicy mayo on the baguette pieces. Add a layer of marinated tofu, followed by pickled veggies and fresh cilantro.

Recipe Directions 

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

Variations

  • Protein Options: Besides tofu, try tempeh, seitan, or even jackfruit for a different texture or flavor profile. Marinated and grilled mushrooms can also provide a savory, meaty addition.
  • Vegan Pâté: For an extra layer of flavor, spread a layer of vegan mushroom or lentil pâté on the baguette.
  • Sauces: Experiment with different sauces in addition to or instead of spicy mayo. Hoisin sauce, vegan fish sauce, or a homemade carrot-ginger sauce can add unique tastes.

Add-Ons

  • Avocado Slices: Add thin slices of avocado for creaminess and healthy fats.
  • Extra Veggies: To increase the crunch and nutritional value, add additional raw vegetables like bell peppers, radishes, or lettuce.
  • Pickled Fruits: For a sweet and tangy twist, include pickled fruits such as mango or pineapple.

Variations, Add-Ons

Toppings

  • Herbs: Beyond cilantro, add fresh mint, basil, or Thai basil for more complex flavors.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Sprinkle crushed peanuts or sesame seeds on top for extra crunch and a nutty flavor.
  • Spicy Elements: If you love heat, add extra slices of jalapeño, sriracha sauce, or chili flakes to kick up the spiciness.

vegan banh mi recipe

Vegetable Substitutions

  • Mushrooms: Portobello, shiitake, or cremini mushrooms are excellent for adding depth and a meaty texture to dishes, making them a great substitute for beef or pork.
  • Cauliflower: Its versatility allows it to substitute for chicken or steak or as a base for pizza crusts and rice dishes.
  • Jackfruit: With a texture similar to pulled pork or chicken, jackfruit is perfect for tacos, sandwiches, and stews.
  • Eggplant: When cooked, eggplant can mimic the texture of fish or chicken, ideal for grilling or baking.
  • Zucchini: Spiralized zucchini can replace pasta, while sliced zucchini works well as a lasagna layer.
  • Butternut Squash: Its firm texture and sweet flavor make it a good substitute for meat in curries and soups.
  • Lentils: These can mimic ground meat in sauces, burgers, and meatloaf, offering a protein-packed alternative.
  • Chickpeas: Great for replacing tuna in salads or chicken in wraps, chickpeas add a hearty element to any dish.

Quick Tip -For an instant flavor boost in any dish, try roasting your vegetables before adding them. This enhances their natural sweetness and adds a delightful smoky note.

Vegetable Substitutions

Best Side Dishes

  • Sweet Potato Fries A healthier alternative to traditional fries, offering a sweet contrast to the savory sandwich.
  • Spring Rolls Fresh or fried, filled with vegetables, and served with a peanut or hoisin dipping sauce.
  • Papaya Salad A refreshing and spicy salad that adds a crunchy texture and vibrant flavors.
  • Cucumber Salad A light, vinegar-based salad that cools the palate, especially if your Banh Mi has a spicy kick.
  • Edamame Steamed and lightly salted, edamame provides a simple, protein-rich snack.
  • Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad A light and flavorful noodle salad with herbs, lime, and peanuts can be refreshing.
  • Pickled Vegetables Additional pickled vegetables on the side can enhance the tangy, acidic flavors in your Banh Mi.
  • Vegan Kimchi For a spicy and fermented flavor boost that adds complexity to your meal.
  • Mango Salad A sweet and spicy fruit salad that adds a fresh, tropical twist.

Best Side Dishes

How To Serve?

  • Cut the Sandwich: Slice the Banh Mi into manageable portions, showing off the colorful layers of fillings.
  • Side Dishes: For a well-rounded meal, offer a selection of side dishes such as sweet potato fries, cucumber salad, or Vietnamese rice noodle salad.
  • Condiments on the Side: Provide extra spicy vegan mayo, hoisin sauce, and sriracha so guests can adjust the flavor to their liking.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Serve extra pickled vegetables on the side for an additional crunch and flavor boost.
  • Fresh Herbs: Offer a plate of fresh herbs, such as cilantro, mint, and basil, and allow guests to add more to their sandwiches.
  • Lime Wedges: Place lime wedges on the serving tray for a fresh squeeze of lime juice over the Banh Mi.
  • Chili Peppers: For those who enjoy the heat, offer slices of fresh or pickled chili peppers.
  • Drinks: To complement the flavors, pair with refreshing beverages like iced tea, lemonade, or traditional Vietnamese iced coffee.
  • Presentation: Serve on a wooden cutting board or platter to enhance the visual appeal and make the meal inviting.
  • Napkins and Utensils: Given Banh Mi’s potential messiness, provide plenty of napkins and maybe even some utensils for those who’d prefer to tackle the sandwich with a fork and knife.

Quick Tip – Blend soaked cashews with water, lemon juice, and your favorite herbs for creamy vegan dressings or sauces. This versatile base is rich and satisfying.

How To Serve?

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Pickled Vegetables: Prepare these a week in advance. They enhance in flavor over time, making your Banh Mi more delicious.
  • Tofu Marinade: Mix and marinate the tofu overnight. This deepens the flavors, ensuring a richer taste.
  • Vegan Mayo: Homemade spicy vegan mayo can be made and stored in the fridge for up to a week, ready for spreading.
  • Vegetable Prep: Julienne carrots and daikon radish beforehand. Store them in water in the fridge to keep them crisp.
  • Make Ahead: Assemble the Banh Mi components in advance, but construct the sandwich right before serving to maintain the baguette’s crispness and prevent sogginess from the fillings.

Fact -The term “Banh Mi” refers to Vietnamese bread, but internationally, it’s come to signify the iconic sandwich filled with Vietnamese and French ingredients.

Time-Saving Tips

  • Prep Vegetables in Bulk: Julienne carrots, daikon, and cucumbers ahead of time and store them in the fridge for quick assembly.
  • Use Pre-Made Pickles: To save time, opt for store-bought pickled vegetables. They add the necessary tang without the wait.
  • Marinate Tofu Overnight: Tofu marinated overnight deepens the flavors and makes for a quick cook the next day.
  • Batch Cook Tofu: Cook a large batch of tofu and store it in the fridge. It’s easy to reheat for sandwiches throughout the week.
  • Prep Sandwich Spread: Make your vegan mayo or sauce in advance. It can last in the fridge and is ready to use when needed.
  • Assembly Line: Set up an assembly line for the sandwiches. This streamlines the process, especially if you’re making multiple.
  • Bread Choice: Use pre-sliced baguettes to save on prep time. Ensure they’re fresh for the best texture.
  • Herb Washing: Wash and dry herbs like cilantro ahead of time. Store them wrapped in paper towels in a plastic bag for quick use.
Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Recipe 1

Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Recipe

This vegan Banh Mi recipe is a delightful twist on the classic Vietnamese sandwich. It features marinated tofu, tangy pickled vegetables, and fresh cilantro in a crusty baguette. With its savory, sweet, and spicy flavors, this sandwich offers a satisfying meal that nourishes and bursts with a symphony of textures and tastes.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
rest time 1 hr
Servings 4
Calories 450 kcal

Equipment

  • Medium Jar
  • Towel
  • Small bowl
  • Shallow Pan
  • Nonstick Skillet
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Whisk

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pac Extra firm tofu (14-ounce package)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for the pan) As needed
  • 4 pieces Baguette pieces, sliced in half
  • Spicy Mayo To taste
  • Cilantro (a few sprigs per sandwich) To taste
  • 1 small Daikon (small, sliced into matchsticks)
  • 2 small Carrots (small, sliced into matchsticks)
  • ½ small Cucumber (½ small, seeded & sliced into matchsticks)
  • ½ Jalapeño (½, thinly sliced)
  • 1/3 cup Rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • Cane sugar (pinches) To taste
  • Sea salt (pinches) To taste
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil (for tofu marinade)
  • 2 tbsp Tamari
  • Lime juice + zest (from ½ lime)
  • 1 clove Garlic (minced)
  • ½  tsp Ginger (minced)
  • Freshly ground black pepper To taste

Instructions
 

Make the Pickles Ahead

  • Combine the sliced daikon, carrots, cucumbers, and jalapeños in a medium jar.
  • Pour in the rice vinegar and water. Add sugar and salt for seasoning.
  • If the veggies are not fully submerged, adjust by adding more water and vinegar as needed.
  • Place the jar in the refrigerator. Let the veggies pickle for at least an hour, or they can be stored for up to a week.

Prepare the Tofu

  • Take the tofu out of its package and drain any excess liquid.
  • Cut the tofu block into ½-inch thick slices.
  • Use a towel to dry each slice, removing as much moisture as possible.

Marinate Tofu

  • Whisk together olive oil, tamari, lime juice, zest, minced garlic, ginger, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place the tofu slices in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the tofu, ensuring each piece is evenly coated.
  • Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Cook the Tofu

  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush a bit of olive oil on the pan.
  • Arrange the tofu slices in the skillet, ensuring they’re not overcrowded. This may require cooking in batches.
  • Cook each slice for a few minutes on each side until they turn golden brown and have caramelized edges.
  • Once cooked, season the tofu as desired.

Assemble the Sandwiches

  • Start by spreading spicy mayo on each piece of the baguette.
  • Place a layer of the marinated and cooked tofu on the bottom half of the baguette.
  • Add a generous amount of the pickled veggies over the tofu.
  • Top with fresh cilantro sprigs.
  • Cover with the other half of the baguette.

Notes

  • Tofu Texture: For extra firmness, press tofu for 30 minutes before marinating to remove excess water.
  • Marinating Time: Longer marinating enhances flavors; consider overnight for a deeper taste.
  • Vinegar Variation: Experiment with different types of vinegar (apple cider or white) in pickling for unique flavor profiles.
  • Spicy Mayo Options: Customize spicy mayo with sriracha or hot sauce to adjust the heat level.
  • Serving Suggestion: Cut sandwiches in half for easier handling and presentation.
  • Storage Tip: Store leftover pickled vegetables in the fridge; they remain crisp and flavorful for weeks.
  • Herb Variety: Add basil or mint alongside cilantro for an aromatic twist.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Gluten-free baguettes can be used for a gluten-free version.

Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Recipe

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table

Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Vegan Banh Mi Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can easily make Vegan Banh Mi gluten-free by using a gluten-free baguette or bread as the base for your sandwich. Additionally, ensure that the tamari sauce used in the tofu marinade is certified gluten-free, as traditional soy sauce contains wheat. Always check the labels of other ingredients, like vegan mayo, to ensure they’re also gluten-free.

What Can I Use Instead Of Tofu?

There are several excellent alternatives if you’re not a tofu fan or want to try something different. Tempeh, seitan (note: not gluten-free), and jackfruit are popular substitutes that absorb flavors well and offer a texture similar to meat when prepared properly. Mushrooms, particularly portobello or shiitake, can also serve as a flavorful, meaty component of your Vegan Banh Mi.

How Long Do The Pickled Vegetables Last?

The pickled vegetables used in Vegan Banh Mi can last in the refrigerator for up to a month if stored properly in an airtight container. The acidity from the vinegar and the salt content act as preservatives, extending the shelf life of the vegetables while maintaining their crunch and flavor.

Is Vegan Banh Mi Healthy?

Vegan Banh Mi can be a healthy option, especially compared to its traditional meat-filled counterpart. It’s rich in plant-based proteins, vitamins, and minerals from the tofu and various vegetables.

However, the overall healthiness can vary based on the ingredients used, such as the type of bread, the amount of oil, and the sodium content in the pickles and sauces. Opting for whole grain baguettes and monitoring the amount of added fats and salt can make it a healthier choice.

Can I Prepare Vegan Banh Mi In Advance?

You can prepare the Vegan Banh Mi components in advance to save time. The pickled vegetables can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The tofu can also be marinated overnight to deepen the flavors.

However, it’s best to assemble the sandwiches close to serving time to prevent the bread from the pickles and sauces from becoming soggy. The tofu can be cooked in advance and quickly reheated before assembling if desired.

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Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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